In this chapter, I present and discuss the status of children’s rights in the Norwegian Constitution. The Constitution was amended in 2014 when a new bill of rights was added. The provisions are strongly influenced by international law and, when it comes to children, especially by the general principle of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc). I give an overview of the process leading up to the decision to include children’s rights in the new bill of rights, and I present how different rights are protected, both directly and indirectly. The Constitution seeks to balance the right to participation and protection. Children are both considered a group in need of particular protection and recognized as right-holders with particular rights. I present the crc as a source of law at a semi-constitutional level in Norwegian law and explain the relationship between the crc and the Constitution. Finally, I discuss implementation and enforcement of children’s constitutional rights.
This chapter consists of a comparative analyses of children’s constitutional rights in the Nordic countries. First, we analyse children’s constitutional rights in general in the Nordic countries to assess if and how a Constitution is in line with the child’s rights approach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc). We build on a model developed by Conor O’Mahony that measures the protection of children’s constitutional rights in Europe across three spectrums: visibility, agency and enforceability. Our study is a more detailed analysis of fewer countries and enables us to discuss the reasons for the differences. Second, we discuss how international instruments supplement constitutional law in the Nordic countries. Third, we compare implementation and enforcement of children’s rights in each of the three domains included in this volume: the principle of the best interests of the child, participatory rights and the right to family life. Finally, we assess whether and how enshrining children’s rights explicitly in the Constitution influences the enforcement and implementation of those rights. A key question is whether constitutionalisation of children’s rights is a culmination of a shift in our view of children, or the start of a new era.
The book presents a comparative study of children’s constitutional rights in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The authors discuss the value of enshrining children’s rights in national constitutions in addition to implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Central issues are whether enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution improves implementation and enforcement of those rights by providing advocacy tools and by mandating courts, legislators, policy-makers and practitioners to take children’s rights seriously. The study assesses whether the Nordic constitutions are in line with the child rights approach of the CRC both on a general level and in detail in three domains; the best interests of the child, participation rights, and the right to respect for family life.